CROWN - Croatian World Network -
Charles Billich prepares for The Olympic Games in China 2008
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic
Published on 04/16/2008
Charles Billich, outstanding Croatian painter living in Australia, created the Bing Mah Yong cycle of paintings for the needs of the 2008 Beijing Olympiade. So well received has this work been that his paintings are represented on a collection of 16 postage stamps currently in circulation in China.

Croatian painter in China

Charles Billich in his atelier at his home in Lovran, Croatia, photo by Nenad Bach

Charles Billich, outstanding Croatian painter living in Australia, playing chess..., source

Inspired by the conviction that the Chinese Olympic Committee should adopt a traditional symbol as the official image of the 2008 Beijing Bid, Charles Billich created the Bing Mah Yong cycle of paintings. Best known as the Terra Cotta Warriors of X'ian, Shaanxi Province, Billich has brought an ancient Chinese icon to life through images contrasting 21st century Olympic sports and 384 BC Qin Dynasty magnificence to the glory of both. So well received has this work been that Billich's Bing ma Yong images are represented on a collection of 16 postage stamps currently in circulation in China.


Charles Billich: Bin Mah Yong Archer; source

Charles Billich: Bing Mah Yong Soccer Player; source

Charles Billich: Bing Mah Yong High Jumper; source

Charles Billich: Bing Mah Yong Swimming; source

Charles Billich: Bing Mah Yong Gymnast; source

Charles Billich: Bing Mah Yong Ping Pong; source

Sixteen Chinese postage stamps with works of art by Charles Billich
Bing Mah Yong series; source

Charles Billich: Third Time Lucky - Makybe Diva, owner Tony Santic, source
Croatian Coat of Arms

Charles Billich: Within Reach; source


Charles Billich: Beijing 2008; source

Charles Billich: Zagreb, capital of Croatia; source

Croatian Art by Charles Billich

Charles Billich: History of Croatia; source

Christmas 1991; source

Croatian Inventors by Charles Billich

Charles Billich: Andrija Mohorovičić; source

Andrija Mohorovičić (1857-1936.) Among scientists studying seismology the famous Moho-layer (or Moho-discontinuity) of the Earth is well known. It was named after the great Croatian geophysicist Andrija Mohorovičić (born in Volosko, 1857-1936), professor at the University of Zagreb. His discovery was essential for understanding the inner structure of the Earth and the behavior of seismic waves. Together with the theory of forces due to Ruđer Bošković, this is probably the greatest achievement in the history of Croatian science. Two Croatian names appear on the map of the Moon. The name of Ruđer Bošković was given to a mountain on the visible side, and the name of A. Mohorovičić to a mountain on the dark side of the Moon.


Charles Billich portraying Nenad Bach in 2005 in his atelier in the lovely coastal town of Lovran, Croatia, where Mr. Billich was born. Notice a canvas on the far right from the Bing Mah Yong series - rower.

Nenad Bach and Charles Billich in Lovran, Croatia

Charles Billich with Violi Calvert, Filipino-Australian correspondent based in Sydney, 2008

Charles Billich with Violi Calvert and Joy Casey in Sydney, 2008

Please, go to the next page below.

Olympic Dream Comes True - on Canvas


Century-old Olympic Dream Comes True - on Canvas

By Les Charlton

Few if any art critics believed that famed painter Charles Billich could ever surpass his enormously successful Beijing Millennium Cityscape, a wall-size montage that brilliantly encapsulates the Chinese capital's ancient and modern architecture and which, in less dramatic style, is peopled by Olympian athletes doing their thing.

The work, presented to Beijing municipal government in 2001, was commissioned by Australia's Canberra City Council as a kind of "good luck" to Beijing in its bid to host the 2008 Olympics.

Goodbye doubters. Far from the first time in a distinguished career born of astonishing versatility and a seemingly savage delight in virtually tearing up the artistic rule book, Croatian-born Australian Billich has gone more than one better with his latest major creation, Jubilation China: 100-Year Olympic Dream Realized. Designed to symbolize Beijing's success in being invited to stage the 2008 Games, it is the first painting in Chinese history to depict aspects of all the country's 34 provinces. 

Art enthusiasts agree that, as self-imposed tall orders go, this is a bit like squeezing the musical intricacies of a symphony onto the back of a postage stamp. Billich, at the China World Hotel where he recently unveiled the painting to a horde of photographers, critics, the media and public, explained:

"This picture may be the most complex I have ever painted. It certainly is the busiest. Even so, I have tried to introduce order into it, so there are schemes and formulas at play. It was even more complicated before I eliminated many components, looking to streamline as much as possible."

Billich said the work -- in effect a painting within a painting where he "played with dimensions" in order to render his concept more graphically -- could be seen as a blueprint for a whole cycle of works in which he would venture deeper into all corners of China to produce some kind of index. "Such a task would be superhuman, so I would like to see some Chinese artists gathering around me in the worthwhile pictorial presentation of China for the pre-2008 world and after that.

"This could blur the distinction between western and Chinese art, and start a new movement in painting. It would also rectify the imbalance existing here today. I feel that too many Chinese artists want to become 'western' artists. They don't realize the pitfalls."

Billich, who now has a studio in Beijing as well as in Croatia, Australia and America, has long been a committed Sinophile. "I spend more and more of my time in Beijing and the provinces, and now know that no words can express the full meaning of the 2008 Olympiad to the country and its people. Nothing more symbolizes the New China than the Olympic ideal. China seems the right place for it, and 2008 the right time."

Despite his versatility in many genres of art, Billich is best known internationally as a sports artist who has won more awards and other honours than he can count.

Source: Beijing This Month

Australian Olympic artist Charles Billich shows his painting "Magnificent Tianjin" during its unveiling ceremony in Tianjin, north China, May 16, 2007. The painting with a dimension of 1.2 meters x 4.8 meters, portrays 600-year history of Tianjin and its modernization process. The Tianjin Olympic Center will be one of the venues for the soccer matches of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games...


Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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